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Performing citizen's arrests. If necessary.
July 29, 2010 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Photographer Peter Tangen has been taking portraits and creating posters featuring self-declared real life super heroes like Geist, the Crimson Fist, and Life at The Real Life Super Hero Project.

Since the previous time real-life super heroes were discussed on MetaFilter, the movement seems to have grown.

Today's crop of heroes are a more mixed bag: Life, for instance, gives toiletries to the homeless. Zetaman is producing his own online show. Geist's original raison d'etre was to help flood victims, but he will "perform a citizen's arrest" when necessary. Some don't like Kick-Ass. One is a Fortune 500 company VP. More traditionally, the Black Monday Society is on patrol in Salt Lake City.

DC's Guardian, of the Skiffytown League of Heroes, has a few choice words on how to be superheroic in your daily life.

If you want to mask up, you can participate in costume workshops. Superheroes Anonymous also has a number of helpful articles on costuming as well.
posted by Shepherd (13 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
These people are just sad.
posted by nomadicink at 1:59 PM on July 29, 2010


These are kinda like Furries without fur. Right?
posted by ericb at 2:06 PM on July 29, 2010


Well, given that they have no powers, exotic technology, or particularly applicable physical training, I'm glad that they're all wearing bulletproof armor.

...wait, what?!?
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:11 PM on July 29, 2010


I'm glad I live in a world where people are willing to do this.

I'd be more glad to live in a world where it wasn't totally out of the ordinary - and didn't require extreme measures to get publicity - for people to go out and help the poor, the mentally ill, and the victimized. Giving out toothbrushes to the homeless and shirts to kids whose parents can't afford clothes can make you a superhero; and it's necessary to dress up because normal folks doing this get very few accolades, funding, or even attention.

Think about that.
posted by mister-o at 2:13 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


P.S. Yeah, I know that that's not what these guys do, and if someone wants to give out candy bars to the homeless while wearing a domino mask, I'm not gonna be the one to tell him that he can't do it. But that's just defining superheroism down to your own personal skill set; if you can't defeat a group of armed bank robbers with zero civilian casualties and tie them up, in a short enough time that the only thing that the cops see of you is your calling card left behind, then, sorry, no, you're a cosplayer doing charity work.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:15 PM on July 29, 2010


Quis custodiet ipsos dorks?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:23 PM on July 29, 2010


A more pragmatic reason to do good works in disguise.
posted by ntartifex at 2:23 PM on July 29, 2010


Most of the super heroes in my community dress like regular folks and let their deeds serve as their calling card. But I'm not going to fault somebody for dressing up in a costume if they're out doing good and making a positive difference. We could use all of the super heroes we can get.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 2:37 PM on July 29, 2010


I, for one, think this is pretty cool.

Are these people ever going to win against a super powered megalomaniac with a jet mounted laser? I seriously doubt it, but that's cool - we (well, most of us) don't live in a world where crap like that happens. But, what they do makes some sort of difference, so who cares if they are just cosplayers doing charity work? Who amongst us hasn't dreamed of donning a cape and cowl and patrolling the rooftops of Cityville?
posted by cerulgalactus at 2:57 PM on July 29, 2010


Holy Taco's 25 real life heroes. My personal fav for awhile has been Angle Grinder Man...too bad he seems to be retired.
posted by samsara at 3:53 PM on July 29, 2010


I'm going with "Thank goodness I live in a society where people can do this. Thank goodness I have other obsessive hobbies, instead."
posted by poe at 4:28 PM on July 29, 2010


P.S. Yeah, I know that that's not what these guys do, and if someone wants to give out candy bars to the homeless while wearing a domino mask, I'm not gonna be the one to tell him that he can't do it. But that's just defining superheroism down to your own personal skill set; if you can't defeat a group of armed bank robbers with zero civilian casualties and tie them up, in a short enough time that the only thing that the cops see of you is your calling card left behind, then, sorry, no, you're a cosplayer doing charity work.

I'm not sure I actually understand this -- I guess it's possible that these people dilute the currency of the word "superhero," but I can't honestly see how that matters to...um...anyone. To be fair, these people may be kind of weird (or they may just have a sense of fun), but they're drawing more attention to their causes than they would otherwise, and I'm sure they cheer up kids who are in crappy situations, and why piss on any of that? Their obsessive hobby helps people, even if only in a small way. I don't think most people can say that about their obsessive hobbies.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:41 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm really not wanting to be a hater here. I completely get the impulse to create an identity and appearance that more completely reflects who you are inside, the essential distillation of your true identity. And if someone wants to go out in public in that mode, again, purely cool in my book. It's as a longtime fan of superhero comics that this both alarms and disappoints me. It alarms me because I always think, OK, here we go, here comes Watchmen... and yet it disappoints me a little because I can still empathize with that particular flavor of the will to power, which defies not only the enemies of society but also society's conventional institutions.

Let me put it this way. I used to be in the Boy Scouts. The Scouts are known for doing good deeds, right? But that's not why kids join the Scouts, and that's not why the Scouts were formed. Robert Baden-Powell was a Boer War hero who wrote a manual for British Army scouts that got picked up by British kids, and he rewrote the book to remove some of the more hardcore aspects of it, while retaining the uniforms and ranks and other paramilitary aspects. The charitable deeds came later, and, like charity work done by any number of groups, helped to give the group a good name, but the real purpose has always been to channel the energy of boys and young men that otherwise might be getting up to all sorts of mischief.

And so you've got the San Diego Comic Con, which has grown well beyond people trading back issues and random members of the Marvel Bullpen talking about what Steve Ditko is really like, and so The Real Life Superhero Project has done up portraits of selected cosplayers in the style of movie posters and Alex Ross' covers for Kingdom Come, and talking about things that you can actually do in the real world to make a positive difference. And that's fine. I don't really want Rorschach to come to my town and start breaking fingers in dive bars. I'm just being honest about that lingering sense of disappointment that the thing that drew me to comics in the first place has yet to manifest on Earth-Prime... and that thing had nothing to do with getting kittens out of trees.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:42 AM on July 30, 2010


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